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What do we do if our mission isn’t as close to the coronavirus?

We’re all affected by what’s happening around the world with the coronavirus right now. And many nonprofit organizations are working double time to provide food, shelter and healthcare services to a growing population.

Where does that leave those like animal welfare organizations when it comes to disaster fundraising?

That’s a common question for many who work with animals or in other spaces that may not be at the forefront right now. These groups still need support and help.

Let’s take a look at what organizations who may not be as close to the COVID-19 pandemic can do to prepare and still reach donors.


As we know from the Great Recession, nonprofit organizations that pulled back their fundraising efforts took even longer to recover than those that didn’t.

We also saw during the Great Recession that when the economic impact began to take its toll on more and more people, animal shelters saw a spike in pets being given up by their owners who could no longer support them.

These are unprecedented times, so it’s difficult to say if we’ll witness the same thing as the COVID-19 pandemic plays out. However, keeping these two factors in mind can help you prepare for what’s down the road.


For many animal welfare organizations, cancellation of events and loss of revenue are the most pressing issues at this time.

But, as we’ve already seen, this situation is evolving rapidly. If you pull back on your fundraising now, it could harm you and the animals who need your help in the future.

Organizations should move swiftly to recoup revenue where possible. If you have the resources, invest even more in getting your need and message out there.


One of the best things about animal welfare donors and supporters is their loyalty and love of animals.

As humans come out of this and begin to recover from the pandemic, animals will still need our help.

Although your shelter may be closed to visitors or volunteers at this time, there are still opportunities to keep your audience updated.

  • Form a human connection. Call your donors to check in on them and their pets.
  • Host an online fundraiser. Animal Rescue League of Iowa raised money and connected with their donors in a fun way by drawing pictures of people’s furry friends after they had donated $25.
  • Voice your need. If you don’t talk about your need, then no one will know what to give. Don’t be afraid to ask for support.

Stay the course and be committed to your cause. We’re already seeing an influx of new donors for many organizations as people look for ways to help out in a time of crisis. That’s something to celebrate.

David Miller

As Senior Vice President at RKD Group, David brings more than two decades of animal welfare experience to help organizations craft their fundraising strategies for success. Prior to joining RKD in 2011, David spent 14 years working at animal welfare organizations, including a stint as CEO at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League.

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